Among the many tedious regulars who frequent the restaurant are Mr. and Mrs. Gonzalez, an ironically named old Jewish couple who refuse to smile, say "thank you," or show any signs of warmth whatsoever.
Mrs. Gonzalez speaks slowly and loudly when dealing with servers. By her own frequent admission, none of us ever pays attention or delivers her order correctly. She's also a massive hypochondriac who has mistaken my glares to mean "Gosh, I'm so sorry, tell me more about your back pain" instead of "I hope Satan makes a fiery geyser out of your remains when you ultimately get seated in Hell, you evil old bitch."
Mr. Gonzalez knows which questions accompany his order ("Black beans or pinto? Corn or flour tortillas?") and relishes the chance to interrupt us just as we've started the question. He also repeats his drink order three times, reminding all servers that "They have yet to get it right."
THEN WHY THE HELL DO YOU TWO SAGGY, MISERABLE FOSSILS KEEP EATING HERE??
I, of course, LOVE waiting on Mr. and Mrs. Gonzalez. Because their requests are simple enough, I take great pride in disrupting their pattern of persnickety by being accurate, expedient, and -- dare I say it -- polite (and by "polite," I mean "polite" in the same way Nellie Oleson addresses customers at the Oleson Mercantile -- insincerely warm and sincerely condescending).
"Well good evening Mr. and Mrs. Gonzalez," I said with a pained smile.
"We'd like..." Mr. Gonzalez began.
..."One double margatini, two chilled glasses with salt, and extra limes on the side," I interrupted. "The usual order of guacamole as well?"
Mr. Gonzalez glared and waived his hand dismissively, bidding me an unspoken reminder of his superiority in our server-customer relationship.
I returned quickly with the drinks. As I poured the cocktails from the martini shaker, I couldn't help myself.
"Mrs. Gonzalez, how is your chronic back pain?" I asked. "I know from last time it was really acting up."
"Well it was fine until I sat in this uncomfortable booth, which just gets lower and..."
"Oh I'm SO sorry to hear that," I interrupted. "Were you two ready to order?"
"I'll have..." Mr. Gonzalez began.
"...Chicken fajitas, black beans and rice, corn and flour tortillas, chicken well done," I said. "And for you, Mrs Gonzalez? The Enchiladas Suprema with goat cheese on the side, red sauce instead of green sauce, add a dry salad with nothing but lemon on the side?"
"Not quite," Mrs. Gonzalez replied. "I don't want ANY goat cheese, inside or on the side. I don't want goat cheese anywhere on my plate. Nowhere. No goat cheese."
"Yes, of course," I replied. "No goat cheese."
I knew full well that the pinto beans were covered in coteja cheese, which is quite different from goat cheese, but still. The severity of her tone indicated that she wanted no cheese, but if a customer is going to complain about a server getting her order wrong, then said customer needs to be specific.
The food came. Mr. and Mrs. Gonzalez snarled when I told them to enjoy their meals. Seconds later I was summoned to the table.
Mrs. Gonzalez had a fork full of pinto beans lifted in the air.
"Yeeeeessss?" I said while batting my lashes.
"There's CHEESE on these beans," she said, circling the fork in the air as if she were about to play "airplane" with me. I stifled a snicker.
"Yes ma'am!" I replied.
"I guess you didn't hear all the times I specifically said 'NO...CHEESE.'"
"Well," I said. "I did hear all the times you specifically said no GOAT cheese."
"Yeah and GUESS what this is?!!" she bellowed while pointing to her fork.
Proof that your alleged back pain has spread to your brain, making you even dumber?
"That," I said, "would be coteja cheese, not goat cheese."
"Well I meant no cheese at all," she said.
"Well I can't take orders based on what you mean, now can I?" I replied.
"I don't care what kind of cheese this is," she said, "I WANT IT OFF MY PLATE, NOW!"
"Oh well certainly, Mrs. Gonzalez," I said.
"NO...CHEESE!" she admonished before I left the table.
"Of course, Mrs. Gonzalez," I smiled. "Now that you've distinguished between goat cheese and no cheese, the kitchen will be happy to accommodate your order."
I returned minutes later with the plate exactly as she intended. Seconds later, I was once again beckoned to the table.
"Mmmm hmmm?" I said with a raised eyebrow.
"There's nothing INSIDE these enchiladas except chicken and black beans!" she said.
"Correct," I replied. "You said NO cheese, and the Enchiladas Suprema also come with mixed cheeses in addition to goat cheese."
"Well I can't eat it with this texture! It's just chicken and black beans inside a tortilla!"
"Oh that's unfortunate," I replied, "because I turned in your order verbatim, just as you expressed it to me."
"I just assumed there'd still be cheese INSIDE the enchiladas," she hissed. "Jesus, how do I eat an enchilada without cheese?"
Easy. With a fork and knife. While being dragged behind a Greyhound.
"Just take this back," she said. "Just give me a chicken fajita salad. Quickly."
I returned minutes later with the salad. I set it on the table, as usual to no "Thank you" or sign of gratitude.
"You're welcome," I muttered under my breath.
"Excuse me?" Mr. Gonzalez said.
"Oh I'm sorry," I said. "I thought I heard you say 'thank you.' My bad."
Mrs. G. quickly finished her salad. In between bites, she muttered "Unbelievable," and "What a smartass." Each time I passed by and overheard this, I smiled and nodded, as if to say "Why thank you."
Finally they requested their bill.
"What IS your name?" Mr. Gonzalez asked. "So we'll know for next time."
I assumed he meant for purposes of avoiding my section. Or for calling to complain about me later (by this point, I think our phone directory lists its own option, ie "If you're calling to complain about Bitter Waiter, please press 6.")
"Billy," I replied.
Minutes later, as I clutched the 10 percent tip in my hand, I waited by the door as they exited.
"Good night," I said. "And ask for me next time!"
Mr. and Mrs. Gonzalez stared at me as if I were truly off my rocker. They continued to complain audibly about me as long as they were within earshot.
Though I suffered financially for the fun at their expense, I left work that night with a sense of vindication. And I gladly signed the write-up I received from management the following day, thanks to a phone call from an "anonymous unhappy customer."